Gleeson impresses again but Steelbacks suffer more Notts anguish

Richard Levi's dismissal was a key moment (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Richard Levi's dismissal was a key moment (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

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Northants’ horror run against Nottinghamshire continued as they suffered a six-wicket defeat at the County Ground on Friday night.

The Steelbacks were skittled out for just 122 before the Outlaws overcame some early difficulty, caused by Richard Gleeson, to chase down the victory total with 18 balls remaining.

It was only Northants’ second defeat of the season in the NatWest T20 Blast, but it ensured they have still not beaten Nottinghamshire in any format since July 30, 2006.

However, David Ripley’s men remain top of the North Group, with four games remaining in the bid to reach the quarter-finals.

After winning the toss, the Outlaws delivered a fine bowling fightback, having seen the Steelbacks race to 59 for one from the powerplay.

The loss of Richard Levi, who had made 35, created something of a domino effect, with spinners Samit Patel (2-27) Imran Tahir (3-13) strangling the Steelbacks.

They were eventually all out for a meagre total, with Steven Mullaney crowning a strong display with the ball to end with figures of three for 12.

Notts had no trouble racking up the runs required for the win as captain Dan Christian, who made 56, helped to get his side home.

It had all started so well for the Steelbacks as Levi milked the powerplay, flicking consecutive sixes into the legside to take the Steelbacks up to 52 without loss after five overs.

But the early momentum was halted when Adam Rossington was bowled by Jake Ball for 22 from the first ball of the sixth over.

Steelbacks ended the powerplay on 59 for one, with Levi having just flicked another six off Ball.

But the big South African was to depart from the first ball of the seventh over as he tried to reverse sweep, missed it and was given out LBW off the bowling of Patel.

And Patel had another wicket in the ninth as frustration created by the Outlaws spinners, got the better of Josh Cobb, who was caught in the deep by Ball for eight.

Tahir was soon in on the act as he responded to Steven Crook’s lovely four by trapping the all-rounder LBW.

It left the Steelbacks in a bit of trouble at 82 for four at the halfway stage and they were in even more bother when Alex Wakely was trapped LBW by Tahir for just four.

The Outlaws bowler celebrated in style and his team were well on top as Sri Lanka ace Seekkuge Prasanna headed to the middle to make his return to Northants action.

Ben Duckett began to knock the ball around nicely but he was to go for 29 as Mullaney, who had dropped Prasanna the previous ball, held a catch off his own bowling.

The innings had totally fallen apart when Prasanna was dismissed for three, with Mullaney claiming another wicket.

And Tahir struck in the next over, with Gleeson going for just four as he was caught by Patel at cover.

Tahir finished his four overs with superb figures of three for 13 and the Steelbacks were really struggling on 115 for eight with four overs to go.

Graeme White was the next man to depart as he was caught behind off the bowling of Gurney for three, leaving the Steelbacks with just Azharullah and Moin Ashraf to call upon.

And Ashraf was bowled by Mullaney to leave the Steelbacks on just 122, giving the Outlaws a huge chance of a fine away victory.

But Gleeson struck in just the second over, celebrating the three-year deal he signed earlier in the week with the wicket of Riki Wessels.

Azharullah appealed for an LBW in the next over, but three successive fours from Michael Lumb relieved any of the early pressure that had built up.

But Gleeson was soon back in the attack and his golden arm was used to run out Greg Smith in quite superb fashion as the bowler gathered and quickly threw at the stumps.

Azharullah wasn’t having the same impact at the other end though and after his two overs went for 26, the Outlaws were back in charge on 37 for two after five overs.

They ended the powerplay on 44 for two and at the halfway stage they found themselves needing just 54 runs from 60 balls to win.

Christian reached his 50 from 28 balls before departing as Cobb took the catch off the bowling of Ashraf.

And opener Lumb also went before the end as Gleeson came back into the attack and had him caught by White.

The bowler finished with superb figures of two for 13 and he also had that stunning run out to show for his efforts.

But the Steelbacks couldn’t stop the Outlaws finishing things off as Patel hit the winning run.

Steelbacks: Levi, Rossington, Cobb, Duckett, Crook, Wakely (c), Prasanna, Ashraf, White, Gleeson, Azharullah.

Nottinghamshire Outlaws: Lumb, Wessels, Smith, Christian (c), Patel, Taylor, Mullaney, Read, Ball, Tahir, Gurney.